A kaleidoscope of timbres is at the heart of Spektral Quartet's Prismatic Memory project, featuring the New York premiere of Hans Thomalla’s Bagatellen for string quartet and the String Quartet No. 3 by Beat Furrer.
Associate Professor of Composition at Northwestern University, Hans Thomalla is an important figure in Spektral Quartet’s history, having collaborated with the group for the recording of his Albumblatt on their debut album, Chambers. Whereas Albumblatt emerges from explorations of unpitched and unusual sounds, evoking the elusive nature of memory, Bagatellen takes tonal music of the past as its departure point for its often microscopic timbral adventures. Commissioned by the Spektral Quartet and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Bagatellen for String Quartet receives its New York premiere at this event.
Austrian composer Beat Furrer is a luminary of the European avant-garde but remains largely off the radar in the United States, and Spektral Quartet is eager to bring his String Quartet No. 3 to new ears for this performance. A staggering, 52-minute epic, this piece excavates minute sounds using every inch of string and bow, compelling the listener to lean in to capture the sonic prism it creates.
The two works comprising Prismatic Memory have generated curiosity around the country, and performances are scheduled in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Bowling Green. Known for its setlist-style and wide-ranging programs, Spektral Quartet takes a different path with Prismatic Memory, offering listeners the opportunity to reckon with two large-scale pieces on the front lines of the avant garde.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Austin Wulliman (violin)
Clara Lyon (violin)
Doyle Armbrust (viola)
Russell Rolen (cello)
Since its inception, the Spektral Quartet has sought out the discourse between the great works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Creating connections across centuries, the group further invites its listeners in with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.
The ensemble is regarded for its forward-thinking endeavors including the Mobile Miniatures project, which rallied more than forty composers from across the US including David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly and Shulamit Ran to write ringtone-length pieces for download to mobile devices. In addition to finding vehicles for bringing classical music into everyday life, the Spektral Quartet prioritizes immersion and inclusivity through close-proximity seating and delivers the majority of its Chicago concerts in vibrant, unconventional venues.
2 Old Fulton St.
Image: Manhattan Sunset Dream #3 by Alan Turkus, www.flickr.com/photos/aturkus/454776951